Ice cream

   Frozen desserts are not new. More than 600 years ago Marco Polo brought home from the Far East recipes for ices made with fruit juices. But ice cream is much newer. No one knows when or where it was first made. We do know that Dolly Madison, the wife of the fourth president of the United States, served ice cream at a party in the early 1800's. We know too, that it was first made on a big scale in Baltimore in 1851. Now ice cream has become one of the best-liked foods in Amer­ica.

   Ice cream not only tastes good, but is also one of the most nourishing foods we eat. It is more than three-fourths milk and cream. It always has sugar and flavoring in it. It may have fruit, nuts, egg, and gelatin in it, too. The egg and gelatin make it smooth. There are a great many flavors of ice cream. Vanilla is the most popular. Then come chocolate, strawberry, and butter pecan. One big chain of restaurants advertises that it makes and sells 40 different flavors of ice cream.

   At first all ice cream was made at home. It was made in small freezers. The mix­ture to be frozen was put in a metal can inside a wooden bucket. Chopped ice mixed with salt was packed in the bucket around the can. A crank turned a paddle inside the can. This paddle kept stirring the mixture so that it would freeze evenly.

   Some ice cream is still made at home in this way. Some is made in the ice trays of refrigerators. But most ice cream today is made in big ice cream plants. Big milk trucks bring the milk and cream to the plant. Other trucks bring sugar and the other materials to be used in the ice cream. Nuts, fruits, and flavorings are brought from all over the world.

   First a "mix" is made of all the materials except the fruits and nuts. This is pasteurized in great tanks to make sure there will be no harmful bacteria in it. The mix next goes to tanks where the fat particles are broken up; we say it is homogenized. It is then ready for the freezer. When the mix is partly frozen the fruit and nuts, if there are to be any, are added. Air is whipped into the ice cream as it freezes. The frozen ice cream goes to a very cold hardening room for a few hours. When it comes out it is ready for sale.

   Much ice cream is eaten plain as a dessert at meals. But a great deal goes into ice cream cones, milk shakes, ice cream sodas, sundaes, and ice cream bars. Some goes into such fancy desserts as parfaits and pie a la mode. How we would miss ice cream if we had to do without it!